A golf club may be liable for a near-fatal wasp attack suffered by a patron in California, where an appellate court reversed a summary judgment in the golf club’s favor.
Although this is an out-of-state case, it’s an important read given that Florida has more golf courses than any other state (with Palm Beach County having more than any other county in the country). As a business, golf courses that invite patrons onto their property for the financial gain of the course owe the highest duty of care to those patrons, meaning they have a responsibility to regularly check for potential hazards and to either mitigate or warn of those about which they know or should know.
Here, the California First Appellate District, Division One, held that operators of golf courses must maintain their property in reasonably safe condition, which includes the duty to exercise reasonable care to shield guests from yellow jacket nests on their site. The measures a golf course operator is required to take may vary, so the court didn’t reach the issue of whether defendant golf course in this case breached that duty or caused patron’s injuries (those would be questions of fact for a jury, rather than a judge, to decide). Nonetheless, the case should move forward, as the course was not entitled to summary judgment before the trial even started. Continue reading